Innovation. Celebration. Collaboration.
The richest business pitch competition in Colorado.
  • 32 companies from across the country (hungry, enthusiastic)
  • Conquer Unexplored Territory
  • To win $250,000 (the biggest prize in the country)
  • Celebrate innovation (support new business)

Presenting Sponsors

Colorado State University College of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship Blue Ocean Enterprises, Inc.
Collegiate Challenge May 2, 2014
Enterprise Challenge May 23-24, 2014
Lincoln Center
Fort Collins, Colorado

The Competitions

So much more than a business pitch competition, Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge and Venture Fest is a collaboration between Blue Ocean Enterprises and Colorado State University‘s Institute for Entrepreneurship and College of Business that was created to ignite entrepreneurial spirits, attract and recognize the best new business ideas, and celebrate the Fort Collins and Colorado entrepreneurial ecosystem. The weekend’s events will bring together some of the most influential trailblazers in the industry.

Collegiate Challenge

Collegiate Challenge

$20,000 grand prize
1 year Blue Ocean mentoring
a chance at the glory

Enterprise Challenge

Enterprise Challenge

$250,000 grand prize
1 year Blue Ocean mentoring
unrestricted bragging rights

The Trolley Pitch Competition

Same Collegiate Challenge competitors. New competition and new prizes. As a historic street car makes its way around Old Town Fort Collins, each team will have two minutes to pitch its business plan before the trolley stops and a new team gets on. All are welcome to watch this competition, taking place Friday, May 23. Trolleys kick off at 401 W. Mountain Ave at 1 p.m.  Find out more about the Trolley Pitch Competition.

The Competitors

Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge competitors are passionate leaders with a goal of changing the world through innovative ideas, hard work and ethical business practices. Competitors will present and defend strong ideas, practical solutions and growth potential. Sixteen enterprise finalists and 16 collegiate finalists were chosen out of 120 applications from across the United States to participate in this exciting opportunity.

Collegiate Challenge Competitors

Competing for a $20,000 prize and entrance into the Enterprise Challenge competition, 16 collegiate competitors are aiming to prove their business idea is better than the rest in the Collegiate Challenge. These passionate and fresh faces from colleges across the state of Colorado have a chance to give their new business ventures a running start.

University of Colorado Boulder

United States Air Force Academy

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

University of Colorado Boulder

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

University of Denver

University of Colorado Boulder

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Click logos to see more

Enterprise Challenge Competitors

With $250,000 on the line, 16 companies from across the United States have their eye on the prize of the Enterprise Challenge, which also includes a year of mentoring from Blue Ocean Enterprises and EMyth, as well as other notable prizes. The enterprise track competition is not for brand new concepts; the companies selected to compete had to have at least $100,000 in revenue and/or an investment to date. The competitors will be judged by a panel of esteemed industry experts.

Littleton, Colorado

Loveland, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Greenwich, Connecticut

San Diego, California

Champaign, Illinois

Santa Cruz, California

Denver, Colorado

Brooklyn, New York

Dallas, Texas

Modesto, California

Fort Collins, Colorado

Sunnyvale, California

Boulder, Colorado

Click logos to see more

The Judges

We have a total of 26 highly esteemed judges involved in the competition. These individuals have a wide range of expertise and are primarily current investors and entrepreneurs. We are honored to have this highly influential group of judges participating in our event in this capacity.

Managing Director, Access Venture Partners

Sourcing Partner, Google Ventures

CEO and Founder, Revlyst

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Garage Technology Ventures

CEO, OtterBox/LifeProof

Founder and Managing Partner, Vista Ventures

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Galvanize

Managing Director, Access Venture Partners

President, FirstBank Northern Colorado

Project Manager, Delta Electronics Capital

Investor and CoFounder, Epicenteral Coworking

Partner, Fort Equity

Co-Founder and CEO, Lasso Media; Co-Founder and ex-CEO of Photobucket

Economic Development Director, City of Fort Collins

Senior Advisor - Global Programs, Bohemian Impact Investments, LLC

Founder, Fort Collins New Tech; Exec. Committee, Startup Colorado

Managing Director, Techstars

Investor, board member, and CFO of Apex Ski Boots

Deputy Chairman, Velcro Industries, N.V.; Founder, ET Capital Partners, L.P.; Fo...

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Galvanize

Co-founder and Managing Partner, Sequel Venture Partners


Co-Founder and Partner, Fort Equity, LLC

Founder and former CFO, Pill Pockets, Inc. and Pura Vida Fitness and Spa; Vice P...

Co-Founder and Managing director, ProMed Management

Executive Director, Rockies Venture Club

The Events

The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge and Venture Fest is a weekend-long event to be held in Fort Collins, Colorado. The public is invited to participate in the experience and be a part of the excitement by attending the weekend’s many activities.


February 11, 2014 Enterprise and Collegiate Challenge Finalists Announced
February – April 2014 Competition Prep and Workshops
Fort Collins
May 2, 2014 Collegiate Challenge Main Event and Awards Ceremony,
Fort Collins Lincoln Center
May 23, 2014 Trolley Pitch Competition,
Old Town Fort Collins
May 23-24, 2014 Enterprise Challenge Main Event and Awards Ceremony
Fort Collins Lincoln Center

See complete schedule

Festival Events

Columbine Room
Partner Showcase Event
Lincoln Center Magnolia Theater
Lincoln Center
Blue Ocean Bash
Location TBD
Get Tickets

The Location

Fort Collins, Colorado

Situated about an hour north of Denver, Fort Collins embraces an exciting urban lifestyle with a friendly small-town feel.  The most events of the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge occur at the Lincoln Center (417 W. Magnolia, Fort Collins, CO 80521).

Getting Around

Green Ride is offering CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge attendees a $3 discount off each reservation. Reserve at the discounted rate by going to the CSU Blue Ocean portal.

Once here, get around with the Transfort bus system or by bicycle – Fort Collins is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the country, and you can borrow a bike from the Fort Collins Bike Library.

What to do

Need a break from challenge festivities? Fort Collins is known for its historic Old Town, dining and nightlife, arts and music culture, and prodigious number of craft breweries. There are also some great natural areas nearby, including the landmark Horsetooth Rock. Find out more specifics from Design Sponge or Visit Fort Collins.

Where to stay

Armstrong HotelFort Collins has a variety of accommodation choices, including the Armstrong Hotel (259 S. College Ave.), the Hilton (425 W. Prospect Rd.), and the Marriott (350 E. Horsetooth Rd.). Find other accommodation options.

The Sponsors

The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge and Venture Fest epitomizes collaboration and uplifts community. This event wouldn’t be a reality without the generosity and vision of our sponsors. If you are a business owner or individual interested in sponsorship opportunities, please download the Sponsorship Guide to learn more.

Presenting Sponsors

Visionary Sponsors

Launch Sponsors

Startup Sponsors

Seed Sponsors


Become a Sponsor

If you are a business owner or individual interested in sponsorship opportunities available, download the sponsorship information packet to learn more. If you want to explore sponsorship, please inquire at

The Volunteers

The Institute for Entrepreneurship at the CSU College of Business is looking for committed, energetic, enthusiastic volunteers for the May 23-24 challenge weekend.  Volunteers are an essential part of putting on this celebration of business, innovation, and job creation. As a volunteer you will not only get to witness and take part in the many events taking place over the weekend free of charge, but will also be exposed to a vast connection of networking opportunities with competition participants from around the country, business community members, and other attendees. And of course there’s also the free t-shirt, meals, and community service hours that come as an added bonus to all volunteer roles.

Fill out the online application form to become a volunteer and find out more about specific roles.

Questions about volunteering? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Bertsch at or (303)-669-9884.

Become a Volunteer

Available positions:

  • Registration Volunteer
  • Backstage Volunteer
  • Showcase Room Attendant
  • Set-Up/Clean-Up Volunteer
  • Trolley Pitch Competition Volunteer
  • Time-Keeper
  • Floater
  • Liaison

About the Challenge

Created by Colorado State University‘s Institute for Entrepreneurship and College of Business and Blue Ocean Enterprises, LLC, the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge is the richest competition of its kind in Colorado. The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge and Venture Fest aims to bring into one inspirational weekend the best college entrepreneurs, innovative startups, and young, growing companies. While it is a celebration of innovation, the Enterprise Challenge also is a very real chance for one business to walk away with $250,000 in cash along with a yearlong Blue Ocean Bootcamp mentoring program, which could lead to further investment by Blue Ocean, as well as one-on-one coaching from the team at EMyth.

In the Press

Fort Collins Coloradoan. (Feb. 14, 2014)

FalconWorks (Air Force Academy). (Feb. 13, 2014)

Today @ Colorado State University. (Feb. 12, 2014)

Fort Collins Coloradoan. (Feb. 11, 2014)

Northern Colorado Business Report. (Sep. 25, 2013)

Denver Business Journal. (Sep. 25, 2013)

Northern Colorado Business Report. (Dec. 13, 2013)

Denver Business Journal. (Dec 12, 2013)

Download Press Kit

On the Web